Olde School Barleywine

What is a barleywine?  To put it simply, it is a beer (that starts with and is made from malted barley) that wields the strength of wine (most reds weigh in at 12-15% ABV).  Today’s feature comes from quite possibly the most innovative brewery on the planet, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.  I’ve been told that Olde School can be a bit hot/abrasive if consumed fresh so this twelve ounce tasting was properly aged 18 months.  At this point the hop aromas were subdued, the finish mellowed and the dried fruit flavors exuded from my snifter glass.  Even though this behemoth was fermented with dates and figs, the flavor I detected at the forefront was apricots.  That is the beauty of aging big beers.  Everyone talks about hanging onto bourbon barrel aged stouts.  Sure, this strategy works for that style as well but I’ve only encountered a calming of alcoholic warmth.  Barleywines on the other hand transform over time with wonderful complexities.  So pick up a bottle (or two) today, hide them away in a cool, dark place and save for a rainy day.

Cheers!